If you have ever driven near a distracted driver, you know just how frightening it can be. You feel like that person could make a mistake and take your life at any moment. Now imagine if that was your doctor or your surgeon. How much risk would you face?
It could be quite a lot. Distracted doctoring is a huge issue facing the medical community these days, and Stanford University notes that it can lead to medical mistakes.
Just as with driving, it takes many forms. One issue is exactly the same: The cellphone. Doctors often have to use electronic records or communicate with colleagues on their phones, tablets, computers and other devices. These devices are often helpful in a lot of ways, speeding up the flow of information. But they also represent a distraction that can impact a doctor when he or she needs to give excellent care to a patient.
In other cases, doctors just take on too much. They attempt to multitask. They have more patients than they can see. In trying to help everyone, they get distracted from each patient that they spend time with and offer sub-standard care.
Along with all of this, you have to remember that a hospital can be a chaotic place. A doctor working in an ER or a trauma center needs to focus, but they also have new arrivals and dire cases showing up all of the time. The very work environment can lead to distractions that cause them to make mistakes.
As a potential patient yourself, you need to know that this risk exists, what it looks like, and what legal options you have if you experience medical malpractice.